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To the assembly members of the 73rd District, Michele Harrington is a Marine, a business owner, an author and a community leader. To all who have the pleasure of knowing her, Harrington’s impact goes much further.

On March 4, the State of California 2019 Woman of the Year award was presented to Harrington by assembly member William P. Brough of the 73rd District. This prestigious honor is given to a nominee who exemplifies unparalleled dedication to making a positive impact in her sphere of influence. For Harrington, her influence permeates throughout a wide range of industries, services and people that bettered her community as a whole.

While she spends the majority of her time bettering the communities she calls home, Harrington also understands the importance of constantly bettering oneself. Her enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps taught her valuable life skills that gave her the strength and stamina to persevere when faced with adversity. These skills were then translated into the business world in her novel “From Zero to Hero: Achieve Your Dreams Through the Power of Self-Discipline.” In her book, Harrington examines the vital components of preserving one’s drive, mindset, perseverance, goals and plans in daily life from the lens of a Marine: “We all have to make decisions in our life to either work hard now or pay for it later…I quickly realized the harder I worked and the smarter I got about the business, the more successful I was.”

Her success in the real estate world ignited from the outset, starting with her achievements as a top-producing agent and investor and leading to her creating Star Estates, a brokerage she started and grew to 150 agents and high-performing offices in Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Dana Point and San Clemente.

Her ambition didn’t stop there. She additionally serves as a director for Orange County REALTORS®, a director for the California Association of REALTORS® and a Federal Political Coordinator for the National Association of REALTORS®. Now, Harrington proudly serves as senior vice president and broker of record for Southern California’s First Team Real Estate.

“Here at First Team, we promote a culture of acceptance and individual growth,” states First Team President Michael Mahon. “We are proud to recognize Michele as a beacon of strength in our First Team family, and we honor all of the women in our brokerage who continually empower us and make a difference in the communities we call home.”

First Team is known for supporting a number of women in leadership roles and management positions, and Harrington plans on continuing this standard. Although she spends the majority of her time coaching agents and growing in her real estate career, she also commits time to the non-profit organization she founded, The Orphan Project. As a successful individual, Harrington still understands the value of helping those who are less fortunate. Her organization funnels support—including financial assistance, food, health services, housing and education—to vulnerable children in Africa and around the globe. Her heart for international adoption led her to adopt two children from Ethiopia, Negasse and Tamu, in addition to her own child, Tyson, and step-children Natalie and Christopher. Harrington additionally volunteers her time to the Aliso Viejo Marine Adoption Committee to support the Maintenance Battalion from Camp Pendleton.

With all of Harrington’s accomplishments, achievements and successes, the Woman of the Year award ultimately goes to a woman who possesses the heart of a warrior who seeks to raise up her fellow women.

“I’m so unbelievably grateful to receive this award,” explains Harrington. “I like to think of this as a recognition for all women entrepreneurs who have taken great risks and made sacrifices to build their own American Dream. I hope it inspires more women to take advantage of the freedom and liberty we enjoy in this country and reminds us to never forget the women around the world who still do not have that freedom.”

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